MiraCosta College alumna and UC, Irvine computer science junior Yocelyne Mercedes Hernandez said such initiatives are vital in opening doors and diversifying the industry. “There needs to be a pathway for girls and women, especially women of color, to pursue their goals in computer science. There is more work to be done to ensure we are helping to uplift our own communities, so they can have opportunities to become mentors and leaders in the tech field.”
Hernandez is doing her part. She was heavily involved with the MiraCosta College EChALE STEM
(Empowering Chicanx And Latinx in Exploring STEM) club and currently serves as a tutor at the MiraCosta College STEM Center. Friends involved with the Computer Science Club introduced her to a Research Experience for Undergraduates program sponsored by the National Science Foundation at UC, Irvine, which led her to apply to the university.
“Having on-campus connections was important,” said Hernandez, who hopes to teach computer science at MiraCosta College after earning a master’s degree and perhaps a Ph.D. “It’s from having those connections with people, who have the same interests as you, that you learn about the opportunities that are out there.”
MiraCosta College students interested in participating in the UC, Irvine Pathways to Computing for Women of Color community can apply using this link. The deadline to apply has been extended to June 1. For more information, visit this link.